Los Angeles County will lift its indoor mask mandate in indoor establishments that require proof of vaccination, health officials confirmed Feb. 23.
The change will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 25, according to the Department of Public Health.
However, according to the health order, businesses need to ensure all customers permitted indoors are either fully vaccinated or can provide proof of a recent negative COVID test. Even after that verification, only fully vaccinated customers will be permitted to remove masks indoors. Unvaccinated customers must continue wearing masks indoors, even after showing proof of a negative COVID test, unless they are actively eating or drinking.
"While there are powerful tools that impede virus transmission, none are perfect, which is why we often need to use a variety of safety measures to reduce transmission," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
For venues that have its workers remain masked while allowing its fully vaccinated customers to unmask requires the venue only to verify the customers' vaccination status or COVID test result, according to the department.
After California Gov. Gavin Newsom removed the indoor mask mandate for the vaccinated on Feb. 15, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has been continuously fighting to end the mask mandates in the county.
Barger posted on Twitter on Feb. 22, saying that the new rule is "another step towards living with COVID-19 in a balanced way.”
Supervisor Janice Hahn, who joined Barger in advocating to lift the mandate, also said on Twitter that the new mask requirement “puts us significantly closer to aligning with the State.”
The county lifted its outdoor mask mandate for large event venues, schools, and child care centers last week. Masks will continue to be required indoors at schools under a state requirement that's expected to be reevaluated at the end of February.
Los Angeles County on Feb. 23 reported 1,204 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
The county also reported 1,934 new COVID-19 cases and 36 additional deaths. Among the 36 deaths, 33 of these individuals had underlying health conditions.